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Top 5 Nonfiction Books to Read Before Visiting Iceland

These are the best nonfiction book to prepare for your trip to Iceland.

Iceland, with its stunning landscapes, unique culture, and rich history, has become a popular destination for travelers seeking something extraordinary. Before you embark on your journey to this island of fire and ice, it’s a great idea to immerse yourself in the history, geology, and culture of Iceland. To help you prepare for your Icelandic adventure, we’ve compiled a list of the top 5 nonfiction books to read before visiting Iceland.

1.”Message From the Middle of Nowhere” by Gunnar Andri Thorisson

the book Message from the Middle of Nowhere by Gunnar Andri held in a hand in the background you see a waterfall. the photo is from Iceland
Message from the Middle of Nowhere by Gunnar Andri

Message From the Middle of Nowhere is the nr.1 book to read if you are interested in Iceland and personal growth. Originating in the heart of Iceland, this book seamlessly melds lessons about business and life with insights with the ancient wisdom of the Vikings. “Message From the Middle of Nowhere” offers inspiration in the face of life’s challenges, reveals captivating facets of Iceland’s modern and historical landscape, sheds light on the world of elves, mighty trolls, and an array of other mystical entities– the Evil Christmas cat known as Jólakötturinn, being my favorite! It conveys a vital message about personal success and provides peephole into the ways of the Icelanders. See this video review for a more in-depth look at The Message from the Middle of Nowhere.

2. “Iceland: Land of the Sagas” by Jon Krakauer.

Iceland- Land of the Sagas by jon krakauer
Iceland- Land of the Sagas by jon krakauer

Jon Krakauer (author of Into the Wild), known for his gripping narratives, explores the Icelandic landscape and history in “Iceland: Land of the Sagas.” While the book delves into the country’s natural beauty and rugged terrain, it also delves into the sagas, providing a captivating account of the epic tales that have shaped Iceland’s identity. I also recommend his books Into The Wild and Into Thin Air.

3.”The Little Book of the Icelanders” by Alda Sigmundsdóttir

The Little Book of the Icelanders
The Little Book of the Icelanders by Alda Sigmundsdóttir

Alda Sigmundsdóttir provides a delightful and insightful look into Icelandic culture and society in “The Little Book of the Icelanders.” As an expat who moved to Iceland, she offers a unique perspective on the quirks, customs, and characteristics of the Icelandic people. You’ll gain a deeper understanding of the local mindset, which can enhance your interactions and experiences during your trip.

4. “Names for the Sea: Strangers in Iceland” by Sarah Moss

Names for the Sea- Strangers in Iceland
Names for the Sea- Strangers in Iceland by Sarah Moss

Sarah Moss’s memoir, “Names for the Sea,” offers a personal and reflective account of her family’s year-long stay in Iceland. Her experiences as an outsider in Icelandic society provide a unique perspective on the challenges and rewards of integrating into the local culture. Her writing beautifully captures the essence of Iceland and the warmth of its people.

5.”Icelandic Folk Tales” by Hjörleifur Helgi Stefánsson.

Icelandic Folk and Fairy Tales
Icelandic Folk and Fairy Tales by Hjörleifur Helgi Stefánsson

To get a taste of Iceland’s rich storytelling tradition, delve into “Icelandic Folk and Fairy Tales” by Hjörleifur Helgi Stefánsson. This book introduces you to the enchanting world of Icelandic folklore, complete with trolls, elves, and other mythical creatures. Understanding these stories will add depth to your exploration of the Icelandic landscape, where these mythical beings are said to dwell.

The perfect books to prepare for Iceland

Reading these books before your trip to Iceland will not only enrich your understanding of the country but also enhance your travel experience by giving you valuable insights into the culture, history, and natural wonders of this extraordinary destination. As you explore the land of fire and ice, you’ll find that these books serve as a wonderful backdrop the stories and adventures you’ll encounter during your Icelandic journey.

Find more great books to read on my the Great Books List
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